Resting state functional connectivity of the limbic cerebellum: vermis lobules IV, VII, and IX

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2015-12

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Abstract

The cerebellum is classically known for its role in motor functioning; however, research has shown cerebellar involvement in other domains, including memory, attention, and emotional functioning. Animal studies, lesion studies, and imagining studies have contributed to our understanding of the wide array of cerebellar functions. Research specifically examining connections between the cerebellum and other systems of the brain has greatly expanded our understanding of the complexities of the cerebellum’s dynamic involvement with functional brain systems in addition to the motor system. Additionally, research has found the cerebellum to be involved in multiple disorders and is one of the most consistent sites of abnormality in autism. Connections between the cerebellum and the limbic system are thought to support cerebellar involvement in emotional functioning, affect, social cognition, and possibly in disorders indicative of impaired limbic-related functions, including autism. However, the functional connectivity of the limbic system and the cerebellum has not been comprehensively studied using functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) procedures. Therefore, the purpose of this present study is to determine the functional connectivity of specific cerebellar vermis with structures of the limbic system to contribute to the understanding of the organization of the limbic cerebellum. This study uses fcMRI and functional connectivity analysis to determine to functional coherence of three vermis ROIs with limbic structures. It is hypothesized that posterior vermis lobule ROIs will show significant functional coherence with limbic brain regions, suggesting posterior vermis involvement in the circuitry of the limbic cerebellum.

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